Startups

Last Week In Venture: Fish Cameras, Misfit Veggie Boxes, And Playing Millennial Thoreau

Hello and welcome back to Last Week In Venture, the weekly rundown of startup funding deals which may have flown under your radar.

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But first, some highlights from the Crunchbase News crew. We covered the buzz around bee-based startups, charted trends in Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report, revisited the podcasting sector, analyzed this year’s crop of unicorns, documented Salesforce’s latest major M&A deal, and covered the IPOs of Crowdstrike and Fiverr.

Of course this is just part of what we covered and, in turn, a small fraction of all that happened this week.

But there are trends to be found and stories to tell about companies outside the public-market and unicorn spotlight. Here are a few of the more interesting rounds from the week that was in venture-land.

Role-Play As Millennial Thoreau

A few weeks ago, I carted myself off to a tiny house in the woods of Northwest Michigan. I didn’t have an internet connection (save for a couple bars of 4G). Not going to lie: It was pretty darned great. Especially for tech industry workers, it’s good to disconnect every once in a while. That is precisely what Getaway aims to facilitate. Billing itself as a “wellness hospitality company,” the Brooklyn-based venture has a network of “minimalist, design-focused” cabins for rent within a two hour drive of several metropolitan areas.

According to a press release announcing the round, “The company currently has six Outposts with 140 total cabins outside of New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Portland, and one in between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Getaway has already announced two new locations opening later this summer, outside of Los Angeles and Dallas.” The company raised $22.5 million in a Series B round led by Starwood Capital Group.

Wonky Veggies Find A Way Home

People pay a premium for produce that looks perfect. Call it another manifestation of lookism if you want. There’s nothing wrong with a slightly lumpy potato or a curlicue cucumber. By big grocery stores and customers alike, these oddball items are often tossed aside. But for those that don’t mind slightly homely veggies at a discount from their more attractive friends, there’s a service like Misfits Market.

The Philadelphia-based, direct-to-consumer, misfit vegetable box as-a-service venture offers two sizes—10-12 pounds, or 18-20 pounds of organic mixed fruits and vegetables—and can deliver boxes on a regularly-scheduled subscription basis. It currently operates on the East Coast and, according to TechCrunch, has shipped “5 million pounds of produce that would have gone to waste otherwise.” To keep scaling, the company raised $16.5 million in a Series A round led by Greenoaks Capital.

A Different Kind Of Fish-Eye Camera

On land, there’s agriculture. In the sea, there’s aquaculture. With global populations of wild fish under stress, it’s how we’ll satiate humanity’s growing appetite for seafood before the lab-grown stuff is good and cheap. Farmed ocean fish like salmon are kept in massive netted pens, usually in open water. Aquabyte is a company which builds IoT cameras which use computer vision technology to monitor and optimize feeding, maximizing biomass development while reducing food waste.

Additionally, because farmed fish are often kept in close quarters, sea lice (which will be your regrettable image search of the day) can spread quickly. Aquabyte’s system can count sea lice and monitor their spread within their fish populations. Though it has offices in San Francisco, the company was founded in Norway, which generated nearly $7.1 billion in “first hand value” from its farmed salmon industry alone in 2017, according to numbers provided by Statistics Norway. Aquabyte closed $10 million in Series A funding in a round co-led by New Enterprise Associates and Costanoa Ventures, which also co-led the company’s January 2018 seed round.

And with that we’re done for the week! See you ’round these parts on Monday.

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Paul Gilmore, via Unsplash.